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Judy Rebick is one of Canada's most celebrated and well-known feminist thinkers, critics and writers. She is the founder of rabble.ca.

Senate page explains her brave Stop Harper protest on floor of Senate today

| June 3, 2011
Senate page explains her brave Stop Harper protest on floor of Senate today

In an unprecedented protest Parliament page Brigette Marcelle (aka Brigette DePape) holds up a "Stop Harper" sign during the throne speech. Below is her explanation.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Senate Page disrupts throne speech Harper's disastrous agenda needs to be stopped with creative action and civil disobedience

Ottawa -- During the reading of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's throne speech today, a young page was yanked from the Senate Chamber as she tried to hold up a stop-sign placard reading "Stop Harper."

"Harper's agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation," Brigette Marcelle says. "We have to stop him from wasting billions on fighter jets, military bases, and corporate tax cuts while cutting social programs and destroying the climate. Most people in this country know what we need are green jobs, better medicare, and a healthy environment for future generations."

Brigette Marcelle (aka Brigette DePape), 21 and a recent graduate from University of Ottawa, has been a page in the Senate for a year, but realized that working within parliament wouldn't stop Harper's agenda.

"Contrary to Harper's rhetoric, Conservative values are not in fact Canadian values. How could they be when 3 out of 4 eligible voters didn't even give their support to the Conservatives? But we will only be able to stop Harper's agenda if people of all ages and from all walks of life engage in creative actions and civil disobediance," she says.

"This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring, a flowering of popular movements that demonstrate that real power to change things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighbourhoods and workplaces."




Ignorant little girl all caught up with emotion. 
Just what exactly is she protesting? What destruction of what programs. Long gun registry? Finger painting fridays?


Have you read her articles on the website of the Centre for Policy Alternatives?

This young woman is brave, brilliant, passionate about democracy. And did I say brilliant?

I just wrote to Jack Layton and Elizabeth May asking them to find her a job.

Such talent must not go to waste.

This comment came to the editor's box, but I thought I'd share here. Its from "Don B."

I wish to commend the parliamentary page for her brave, creative and dramatic stand against the potentially seditious governmnt that Canadians have just elected. (By "seditious" I mean: attempting the undermining of Canadian sovereignty, dignity, and democracy by augmenting the number of formal submissions to Uncle Sam; making us the laughing stock of the world by lack of attention to the environment, foreign aid, the Pearson legacy, etc.; and a four-year history already of one assault after another on Canadian democratic/parliamentary procedures -- respectively. From this Government, Canada may never recover.) I found her action brave because it was bold & loud, ran physical risks in the escorting of her from the Chamber, and will make her the object of both respectful & scornful attention for years to come. I found it creative because nothing like it has happened before; despite her age, she's a person "on the inside" whose education & no doubt career goals made her a keen & perceptive observer over the past year. Her protest will have an impact weightier than it appears. Stopping Harper over the next four years will be a mammoth task, and every stratagem will be needed; she gets high marks for starting us off in a strikingly imaginative fashion, which will have more impact than many of the better organized efforts which will follow. The dramatic impact of her action is obvious.

In a conventionally well functioning democracy, how DOES the alert & loyal & concerned citizen make a veto-weight protest between elections?! Alan Borovoy, the former Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, is absolutely right : "civil disobedience" should be discouraged in societies enjoying the Rule of Law (though Harper threatens this too), but "uncivil protests" (have I remembered the term correctly?) are the way to go. The Harper threat is existential for our country, yet our election procedures legitimately put him in place. We are in a very threatening & fateful moment in our history. The next four years will be crucial, . . . and challenging . . . and tough.

A final word: Harper has a severe case of “anti-nomianism”, Martin Luther’s term for those who thought that their faith permitted them to ignore ordinary conventions & laws; this makes him even more dangerous.

Our parliamentary page is to be congratulated for getting the protest initiated in the right place, at the right time, and in an uncivil, yet legal way. Wow, are we lucky she was there!

Why is everyone all over Brigitte for her "contempt of parliament" when Harper's outrageous, first-in-history contempt goes unaddressed and unremarked by and large?

Bravo Brigette....ActCity Ottawa applauds your activism, ingenuity and selflessness. You are a example of youth who are aware, concerned and taking action...an inspiration...Thank you...Kensky

Brigitte, you give me even more hope for the future.  You are one hell of a brave woman and like so many Canadians I am immensely proud of you.

Bravo! God bless you Brigitte. You are a symbol. I hope you'll be a source of inspiration for canadian people. Canada is not a real democracy!!

she is a silly naive kid. What gives her away is this comment:

 " we in Canada need our own "Arab Spring."

Millions are dying in the so-called Arab Spring so that they can have basic democratic  rights such as .......voting!
Here in Canada we have a democratic process that Ms Depape wants to revolt against.

Like it or not (and ther is lots not to like) Harper was voted in (stupidly) as a majority. Now we must live with it.

I suggest the best place for Ms DePape to look for a job is McDonalds where she can learn a few facts of life.

Brava Brigette! Courage and leadership we can all learn from.

What a little witch.

Pages from now on will be looked at suspiciously, the senate will investigate... Lets hope this one foul incident doesn't lead to changes that will deny young people  this coveted position.

I have looked far and wide for a comment from the NDP and as of yet haven't found one.

Eliz. May and Justin Trudeau have both said the protest was in the wrong place - and good for them.

Poor Jack Layton is going to have a tough go at things if people supporting this vandal is the same place where he draws his support.  Mainstream Canadians will more and more see this as a lunatic fringe group similar to conspiracy theorists and dismiss them was radical and not to be trusted.

We live in one of the best and freest democracies in the world.  Comparisons to Arab dictatorships is ridiculous.

Secretly I smile whenever leftists come out with insane arguments and support for political pre-meditated stunts like this.  It plays into our hands and the young bourgeois 20 and 30 somethings who voted Orange to be cool will have second thoughts next time around. Undoubtedly they will see Canada and thoughtful Conservative rule as probably the best environment in which to be successful and grow.

I am hoping now to see untethered drooling support from NDP MP's now. If someone has a link please share.

"Parliament belongs to us. Every square in, inside and out."

Agreed, but we can't all fit in it at once. We have elections to decide who gets to speak and who doesn't.

A person who gains access to the floor of Parliament under false pretences, shows contempt not only for the elected members but for all Canadians who cast their vote and accepted the result.

This trivial incident is damaging for two reasons.

First, it reinforces what will be the Conservative narrative for the nexc four years -- depicting the opposition as too immature and irresponsible to be trusted with power.

Second, it undermines the ability of the opposition to call Harper out on his far more pervasive contempt for Parliament and its traditions.



The appropriate place to protest is wherever you are.

Parliament belongs to us. Every square inch, inside and out.

We are free people.

No one will shut us up.

It only takes one to start.

Let us stop doing nothing about the contempt, corruption and oppression.

Thanks, Ms. DePape




Thanks for the input,troll.

Can you say "contempt of Parliament?"

If Bridgette had made her protest as a private citizen, I would say Bravo.

However, she sought out a position as an officer of Parliament. She was given the privilege of access to the floor of the Senate in return was expected to be scrupulously non-partisan. Instead, she abused her position to make a partisan point and gain publicity for herself.

There are many ways to lodge a protest which do not involve abusing a position of public trust. I cannot imagine any political party which has serious aspirations for national power letting her anywhere near a position of responsibility until she grows up enough to understand this.

The left needs to face the fact that Harper won a majority with the same share of the vote as most other majority governments in the recent past. In order to defeat him, some of his supporters are going to have to change their minds. Stupid stunts like this won't help. Voters want responsible leaders, not losers waving protest signs.


Bridgette for Prime Minister! At least she isn't sitting in a coffe shop or bar whining about our government and doing nothing. Bravo for her! i hope to see more of her in the futrure.

Bravo! If more Canadians had her courage (and sense of timing) we would live in a better country.

Actually under harpers rule we saw peaceful protesters,innocent civilians kettled,detained beaten,shot at,threatened and denied due process to call family,and legal representation.

There were house raids that premptively were held,that saw citizens of this country awaoken at gunpoint and spirited away during the night,and some raids didnt even occure at the proper address,thus leaving confused and terrified people with smashed and broken doors.

If you need examples of how this government tortures and kills children,you should look no further than the case of junior manon,a youth from the jane and finch area of Toronto,who after being harassed by police a number of times, died of aspexiation while detained by police on one of their countless stops. His family was denied any formal inquest into his death and untill recently could not get a proper nor acceptable cause of death for an otherwise healthy and active youth. They shot a 13 year old point blank who was joyriding and had driven the vehicle and parked in the parking lot of his familys aprtment complex... This is a growing reality for those in at risk neighbourhoods,who despite our claims of democracy and eqaul opportunity,must face an enherently corupt and violent police force that would rather shoot/beat first and ask questions later...these are also only two stories out of several.

Just yesterday 6/3/2011 My room mates 19 yr old brother who accidently got injured at work,went to the emergency room in order to get stitches and had the doctor appologize to him as due to budegtary cuts, they could not afford to keep up with demands and did not have proper bandages and dressings for the wound.

Our adult unemployment rate hovers near 8% and promises to grow in the up coming times ahead if something truly inspiring is not done. In the past year countless signs of job investiment have gotten nailed to fences and poles through out our city, yet on the street I live on, in the past 6 months at least 4 really great indipendently owned businesses were forced in to bankruptsy and closed.

And less we forget harpers government was found in contempt of parliament...the first ever out of any canadian leader/governing party, irregardless of political faction...

So it should not be a question of if we are as bad as those countries,but how long untill we get there,and what we did as a democratic people in order to prevent it!

I truly think she should be commended and not condemned,as she gave voice to so many voiceless,and overlooked communties, something people are only too happy to overlook in order to substantiate their own sense of entitlement...while others are allowed to exist in some plainly inhumane conditions

Hey dannyboy.

The only people thumbing their noses to the Canadian electorate are the Cons and our elections system.

60.3% of Canadians did not vote for them or their agenda.

She took a stand..Something very few Canadians do.

Embarassed?..Not in the least.

"This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring, a flowering of popular movements..."


Exactly! Now you're talking! I've compiled a list of a few things I think we need to happen in order to make this happen:

-rampant unemployment (10% +, Youth Unemployment 25%+)
-much lower standard of living
-higher food prices
-a secret police that electrocutes peoples genitals for saying anything that disparages the current government
-a stifling and corrupt government bureaucracy that inhibits commerce (as was the case with Mohammed Al Bouazizi)
-several decades of autocratic rule


So as you can see comparing the election of a conservative government in a parliamentary democracy to

the stuggle of oppressed peoples in unelected dictatorships is completely appropriate!

Good for you, kiddo!

Whatever the next 4 years bring, and I sincerely hope it will involve a people's revolt,

dannyboy are you suggesting that we shouldn't speak out about the degradation of our democracy?  Should we just shut up and hold our tongues when we see minorities on the margins of society will suffer because of Harpers ideologically driven policies, or how the single largest threat to humanity, global warming, is not even addressed by this government.  Wake up to reality, you don't have an economy with out a healthy environment.  Pollution and toxins in our water, land and air are making people sick, don't you think that will put a strain on our health system?  Your analogy suggests that we should let things slide here because people in the Middle East have it so much worse, we should allow working conditions to worsen, we should allow corporate control of the national agenda, we should allow oil interests and profits to dictate gov't policy, we should ensure children remain in poverty because they are not lucky enough to have two parents and be from the middle class (that is a majority tyranny at work)  

Harper does not address real issues and makes up divisive distractions, such as his crime bill agenda, the long gun registry and the supposedly evil public service (who apparently put us in debt, not the fraudulent financial institutions of the US) the long form census and the evil immigrants (facing the very threats you speak of) who only wish to escape conditions the West has a role in creating in the third world.  All of this and more is Harper, thumbing his nose at Canadians.  It's these issues that her protests are addressing, that's what she is standing in protest against, you are just confusing the issue just like Evan Solomon, just like Harper, and exactly the tactics used by American Republicans!

This is somebody who has seen from the inside how reality is not a factor for an ideological based party headed by Steven Harper, and put her career in jeopardy by taking a strong personal stance.  It's about speaking up when you know something isn't right even if it doesn't benefit you.  We should speak out when it's the small things and when it's the big things, that's what it means to do the right thing.  We've seen it when the head of Stats Canada resigned over the axing of the long form census, or when the head of the Nuclear Safety Commission shut down Chalk River.  All these individuals put their careers on the line to do the right thing, granted Brigette only had three weeks left in her term, but this could limit her future career opportunities.  Thank you Brigette!  And Hallyhook, great insight on Evan Solomon's spin!

Yes, what a hero, she's right up there with Stanley Knowles.

I can't believe she had the temerity to try to draw a parallel between her own protest and those of the arab street.  Her counterparts in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and elsewhere face despotic regimes which may torture and kill them and even, apparently, their children.

Brigitte may face a future of having to work hard to pay off a student loan, or finding a way to help her parents maintain their standard of living when some turkey like Harper cuts OAS and CPP.  The stakes are so very far lower.

Not only are the stakes lower, her protest thumbs her nose at the Canadian voters -- people who actually troubled themselves to vote this election past -- who made their democratic choice in our democratic election.  If she has trouble with our first-past-the-post system, why take it out on Harper?  How many of her own friends did she round up and send to the polls?

There is no comparison between this sullen spoiled child and an arab protester facing possible death.  The bravery involved here is the same bravery that drives someone who streaks a ball park in the 9th inning.

If this is the face of liberalism in Canada, I'm embarrassed.

Brigitte, by your courageous and principled stand, you give those of us who envision a sustainable, inclusive future fresh hope.

Brigette, you were awesome. Solomon was never going to get it and you held your own. You go girl!

Yay, Brigitte, my hero! Heard your interview with Evan Solomon who kept pressing on the "disrespect of parliament" theme with no acknowledgment of how Harper routinely disrespects it. You held your own very well.

Yes we in Canada need our own "Arab Spring." I can't salute you enough or sing your praises more highly, brave girl. Thank you!

She is an inspiration!

RT @PoliticsReSpun: Winner of the "best way to quit your job" 2011 so far goes to the Senate page Brigette Marcelle. #SfT #cdnpoli #pagegate

Bless her, she's going to pay a price for her courage. Let's work to minimize the vindictive potential of 'our' neoCons.

I'll let journalists arrange interviews with her.

But I'd love to buy her a drink and shake her hand and thank her for her courage.


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